Controversy is sure to follow the opening of France's first gay mosque, planned for November 30. The Algerian born Muslim behind the mosque hopes it will be used for Friday prayers and eventually for same-sex marriages.
Mohammed Ludovic Lütfi Zahed explained to the Hurriet Daily why he felt the need for a mosque for gays. He said: "In normal mosques, women have to sit in the back seats and wear a headscarf and gay men are afraid of both verbal and physical aggression. After performing the Hajj, I realized that a mosque for gays was a must for gay Muslims who want to perform their prayers." He hopes that both straight and gay men and women will pray together. The mosque will be sited in the hall of a Buddhist chapel.
Zahed has already risked the wrath of the Islamic community by marrying his partner, Qiyam Al Din. Digital Journal reported the couple married in South Africa before returning to France where they celebrated their wedding with the blessing of a Mauritian Imam. Zahed declared they were married according to Islamic sharia law.
Zahed maintains "I am sure that if the Prophet Muhammad was still alive, he would marry gay couples."
Many Muslim clerics have issued fatwas against homosexuality, though it is quite prevalent in the Arab world. In Iran a number of gay men have suffered a public hanging.